BLACKBURN Rovers may face an anxious wait to find out whether Lee Williamson will miss the start of the new season after the midfielder was sent off in last night’s friendly at Bury.

Rovers needed Jordan Rhodes’ late penalty to earn a 1-1 draw at Gigg Lane after having to play the second half with 10 men, following Williamson’s straight red card for a rash tackle just before the interval.

On whether the midfielder will be suspended Rovers boss Gary Bowyer said: “I am not sure at this stage.”

That means it is now uncertain if midfielder Williamson will be suspended for the start of the season.

A straight red card for a tackle during a competitive game would result in a three-match ban, but much will now depend on whether referee Darren Handley opts to report the incident to the Football Association.

If he does, Williamson is expected to miss Rovers’ opening match at home to Cardiff City on August and possibly two more games after that.

But Williamson may still be available against Cardiff if the referee decides to take the incident no further.

Rovers were without Alex Baptiste, Matt Kilgallon and Chris Taylor because of injury last night, while Ben Marshall and Rudy Gestede missed out with illness.

Gestede’s absence now makes it highly unlikely that he will travel to Malawi for an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with Benin on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Rovers target Michael Keane has come in for praise from Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal, raising doubts over whether the defender will be allowed out on loan again.

Keane impressed during a loan spell at Ewood Park at the end of last season, but has featured for United in pre-season.

United have seen defenders Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice EVra and Alexander Buttner leave this summer.

Speaking about whether he intends to buy a defender before the end of the transfer window, Van Gaal said: “I am looking at the defenders we have first. When you see our three matches (in pre-season), we are doing well I think but it is right that we are looking for defenders because a lot of defenders have gone.

“We have to replace them, but I also like Michael Keane and Tyler Blackett.

“We have to wait and see if we can do that in more matches.

“I think the Premier League is another taste.”